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Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Leaseholder Enquiries

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Overview

A leaseholder is someone who doesn't own the land their property stands on and generally has to pay ground rent and service charges to the landlord.

Birmingham City Council owns the freehold to over 4,700 flats and maisonettes that have been sold through the Right to Buy, and leases these properties out. Our Leasehold Team supports Birmingham City Council leaseholders.

Essential Information
  • There are currently five Recognised Tenants Associations (RTAs) in Birmingham and a RTA has more rights than individual leaseholders when it comes to major work. To find out whether there is an RTA covering your building, telephone the Leasehold Services team on 0121 303 2147 or 303 2148.

    You also may be able to join our Leaseholders Liaison Board (LLB) which is made up of leaseholders who were elected from Birmingham’s 11 constituencies. The LLB looks at a range of issues that are important to leaseholders, such as service charges and major works. Elections to the board are held every two years and all leaseholders are invited to stand for election.

    Find out more about resident involvement, and the leaseholder liaison board.

Frequently Asked Questions
    • Birmingham City Council’s leaseholders pay towards council tax, service charges, major works and ground rent plus the usual household bills such as water rates, gas and electricity.

    • Your service charge pays for services to your building such as general maintenance, repairs, buildings insurance, lifts, concierge service, caretaking, lighting, grounds maintenance and cleaning of communal areas. You will be invoiced for your service charge annually, and we ask you to pay within 28 days of receiving your invoice unless you have made an arrangement with us to pay by instalments.

      Your leasehold handbook will explain the standards you can expect for the services that you are paying for. A copy of the handbook is attached at the bottom of this page.

      Service charges can go up or down, but we always aim to ensure that what you pay is reasonable. You have the right to query service charges by contacting the Leasehold Team. If you are unhappy with the outcome you can challenge the charges with the First-Tier Tribunal - Property Chamber (Residential Property) who will decide if the charge is reasonable.


    • There isn’t a definition of what level of service charge is considered to be ‘reasonable.’ As a result, both the council and the leaseholder have the right to challenge a service charge with the The First-Tier Tribunal - Property Chamber (Residential Property).The First-Tier Tribunal has replaced the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal. The tribunal is an independent decision making body which is completely unconnected to the parties or any other public agency.

      The Tribunal will look at the evidence and then a decision will be made.

      You can apply to the tribunal whether the service charge has been paid or not. However, you can’t apply if the charges have already been agreed by the parties involved, or have been determined by a court or by post-dispute arbitration.

      To find out more about the First-Tier Tribunal, visit www.justice.gov.uk/tribunals/residential-property'


    • Ground rent is paid to the freeholder, in this case Birmingham City Council, as a condition of the lease. Your lease will tell you how much you have to pay and how often you have to pay it.